McGoldrick on the cusp of a Premier League promotion, while Ipswich head for League One – the story behind last summer’s split
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David McGoldrick is on the cusp of a promotion to the Premier League with Sheffield United, while Ipswich Town are heading for League One. Ahead of Saturday’s clash between the two teams at Bramall Lane, STUART WATSON looks back on the story behind the striker’s Portman Road exit.
TIME AT TOWN
It didn’t work out for David McGoldrick at hometown club Nottingham Forest. There were plenty of strikers in the way and he was often played out of position. The former Southampton youngster – who was a FA Youth Cup finallist alongside the likes of Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Adam Lallana – admits his attitude also held him back.
A prolific loan spell in League One with Coventry got things back on track. A temporary stint at Town followed. The move became permanent that summer when his contract expired.
His first full season with the Blues was sparkling and led to a £8m bid from newly-promoted Premier League club Leicester City being rejected. He stayed and played a crucial role in Town making the play-offs.
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THE INJURIES There were nine starts in 2015/16, 25 in 2016/17 and 18 in 2017/18.
Looking back on the second half of his time at Town, McGoldrick recalled: “I had a lot of injuries and wasn’t the player I was when I first came into the squad.
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“I did a back-heel in training, tore my hamstring and was out for four months. I jumped up in the air to control the ball and tore my groin and was out for three months.
“I landed on my knee, studs went and popped my knee when I landed on it. I was out for six weeks. You can’t do anything about that.
“I was playing with injuries when I shouldn’t because I couldn’t get fit. Arising from that was a loss of form and your confidence goes.”
When Paul Hurst revealed the front man had been released at the end of his deal last June, we ran a poll asking if it was the right decision. Close to 800 people voted – 87% said ‘yes’.
BRILLIANT FOR BLADES
McGoldrick went on trial for Sheffield United and impressed Chris Wilder sufficiently to sign a one-year deal.
It’s been reported that former Blues boss Mick McCarthy told Wilder that McGoldrick’s injuries were not helped by a lengthy commute from his family home in Nottingham.
Already this season he’s had more starts (34), more minutes (3,092) and more goals (15) than in any of his five full seasons at Ipswich Town.
The 31-year-old, who signed a new deal until 2021 in January, scored twice in Monday’s 3-0 win at Hull. The Blades are second in the table with two games to go. They could effectively seal promotion with victory over Town at Bramall Lane on Saturday (5.15pm, Sky Sports).
WHAT MICK MCCARTHY SAID
Q: If you’re interested in (keeping) David McGoldrick have you told (owner) Marcus (Evans) that? Should he be putting something on the table for David to consider to stay here and sign on again?
A: Didz might want to leave with me.
Q: He might do. But isn’t the obvious thing, if you want him to stay here, to get a deal tied up like Bart (Bialkowski)?
A: We don’t know. We could leave hand-in-hand out the golden gates here *laughs*.
WHAT LUKE CHAMBERS SAID
He’s out of contract in the summer so it’s possible that he has played his last game for the club. I hope that’s not the case. He’s one of my best friends and I’d love to see him sort out a new deal.
When Didz is fit and on his game he is one of the best players in the Championship, no doubt about that. It will be hard to replace him, that’s for sure.
WHAT PAUL HURST SAID
February 2019 (speaking on the ‘Not The Top 20 Podcast’)
In terms of the players that left, (David) McGoldrick was never on any list that I had. He wasn’t even on a budget sheet, which made me laugh considering he’d been the highest paid player at the football club.
It was as though you wouldn’t know that, so that one always brought a smile to my face.
WHAT DAVID MCGOLDRICK SAID
March 2019 (speaking at Republic of Ireland press conference)
When Mick (McCarthy) was going to leave at the end of the season he said he would leave it (my contract) to the next manager.
So I was waiting because I was kind of open to staying there but the new manager came in and said ‘no, not for him’. That was in June so I started to look around.
I was training on my own thinking ‘is this where I am at?’ I got the buzz back just from being... not wanted. It was a kick up the a***. I wasn’t a golden player at a team like Ipswich any more. I had to go and prove myself.
I believe I had lost my way a bit. I don’t think you realise it until you’re in that sort of situation. I maybe got a bit too comfortable at Ipswich.
I loved my time there, but we were mid-table every week and there was no big expectations to go out there and win every game, like there is at Sheffield United at the moment.
WHAT DEAN GERKEN SAID
December 2018 (speaking ahead of Sheffield United’s visit to Portman Road)
Everyone knows how highly we all rated him here at this football club – not just as a player, but as a person.
He’s such a talent. At the moment he looks fitter than he ever has and is running around more than he ever has.
His footballing ability has never been in question. He’s unbelievable. When David McGoldrick is fit there’s not many better in the Championship.
I’m not sure whose decision it was to let Dave go. He was obviously in a bad situation being injured at the end of his contract.
As players we were disappointed because of how highly we all regard him. Obviously you want the best players at the club.
WHAT PAUL LAMBERT SAID
They have a lad (McGoldrick) who scored goals for fun for this club and he’s ended up at Sheffield United.
He’s a goalscorer and they are worth their weight in gold. You tend to find the goalscorers make the most money because they can put the ball in the net.
WHAT CHRIS WILDER SAID
When he talks people listen. His views are very knowledgeable, and he’s a really popular guy in the changing room.
When we sit down and have discussions about tactical stuff or whatever, he contributes and it’s always something that’s worth hearing.
He’s not the loudest in there, but when he says something it’s usually quite funny, or quite meaningful. People respect what he’s done, how he plays and conducts himself.
He came in to push, and has been one of the leading lights in terms of his performances. The crowd reaction to him has been great.
He’s got genuine talent, that’s plain for everyone to see. You always want your lads up top to score but he brings so much else to the table with him.